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'RPG,' 'Lobo' interest foreign distributors at FILMART
March 25, 2010, 9:32am

The Philippines' first 3-D animated feature film, "RPG," and the television series, "Lobo," are the top enquiries from among ABS-CBN Global content at the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART) that's ongoing at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre up to March 25.

According to ABS-CBN International Sales Manager Pia Y. Bacungan, the screeners [a sample from a TV episode or a movie] they have of "RPG" ran on the first day of the exhibit.

"The poster and flyers of these two are appealing enough so there's no need to hard-sell them. Although nothing is guaranteed at this point, clients don't ask for screeners if they are not interested, [otherwise] these become [added] weight to their luggage," said she.

"Lobo" entices distributors mostly because of its recent achievements. Recall that "Lobo" female lead Angel Locsin was nominated for Best Actress at the 37th International Emmy Awards. The show won for Best Telenovela Program at the Banff World Television Festival in Canada last year.

"Lobo" had just finished airing in Brunei. It is expected to hit TV screens in Indo-China, Asia, Europe and Africa in 2010.

"It helps that Filipino actors are really beautiful. We are really eye-catching people--and who doesn't want that, regardless of what culture you're from?

"More than that, though, is the universal storyline of our teleseryes. We do not delve on controversial subjects, but about family and the need to be loved and to find love," explained Bacungan.

"RPG" tells the story of a boy who was sucked inside a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Its musical score is by Filipino musical arranger Gerard Salonga, who has been tapped several times to conduct for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The storyline of "Lobo" centers on siblings who are both able to transform into wolves. Its leading man is Filipino actor Piolo Pascual.

The distributors who attended the FILMART this year come from around Asia, US and Europe. A few days back, Reena de Guzman Garingan, head of International Sales and Distribution (ISD) of ABS-CBN Global, shared in Manila that some ABS-CBN teleseryes will be shown on a multiple timeslot in Africa.

ABS-CBN researches on the culture and demographics of a territory before they present their shows to prospective clients. They are especially careful when dealing with distributors who are eyeing to air the shows in Muslim countries.

"Cultural sensitivity, [those are the] key words. Like, we can't show them a scene shot inside a church. For Filipinos, that's ordinary but that's taboo in Muslim countries," Bacungan cites.

There are ways to resolve the dilemma: ABS-CBN either edits out the "delicate" scenes or they call the sale off.

"It's not just about making money. After all, we have to protect the intention and integrity of our shows, too," said she.

Other titles from ABS-CBN that are being offered at FILMART this year are "Lobo" (re-titled "She Wolf: The Last Sentinel"), "Dahil May Isang Ikaw" ("Destined Hearts"), "Tayong Dalawa" ("The Two Of Us"), and the Star Cinema movies "I Love You, Goodbye" and "Paano Ko Sasabihin?"

The most successful ABS-CBN export so far is "Pangako Sa Yo" (known abroad as "The Promise"). The Kristine Hermosa-Jericho Rosales starrer has aired in 2,000 channels in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and South Africa; and it has captured 1.3 billion viewers worldwide so far.

FILMART is a yearly event organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. It aims to promote Hong Kong as the regional hub for distribution and production of film, TV programs and entertainment-related products in Asia Pacific, as well as to develop and strengthen cross-media and cross-business partnerships.

The Hong Kong International Film and TV Market is one of nine events that are part of this year's Entertainment Expo in Hong Kong that runs from March 21 to April 6, 2010. The other events are the Asian Film Awards; the Hong Kong Independent Short Film and Video Awards; the IFPI Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award; the Hong Kong - Asia Film Financing Forum; the Hong Kong Music Fair; the Hong Kong Film Awards Presentation Ceremony; the Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum and the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Manila Bulletin

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24 Mar 2010 by Les

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